University of Houston – BBA, Accounting
Maria Haggerty’s first job out of college was as an auditor with a major national accounting firm. She expected the deep dive into data, statements, records and more, but what she didn’t realize was the incredible opportunity she’d have to see inside of all types of businesses. Maria audited companies ranging from hedge funds and NYC museums to garbage dumps, hospital laundries, and real estate and manufacturing companies. As she examined each company’s inner workings, she had the chance to learn not only about the industry, but also the culture of the company. And Maria quickly learned those two things — industry and culture — were what were most important in keeping her motivated and interested.
From there, Maria went to GoodTimes Home Video, where she met her now co-founder and business partner, Bill Follett. After spending 15 years at GoodTimes, she and Bill saw the future of what’s now e-commerce. But when their attempt to buy GoodTimes failed, they decided to go at it on our own and set up a company that fulfilled direct to consumer orders for clients looking to outsource — and Dotcom Distribution was born.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, because you never know what is around the next corner.
How do you organize your day?
I have a relatively long commute — 70 miles in the NY metro area — so I begin my day early. I head to the gym at 5:30 a.m., which accomplishes multiple objectives: I beat the traffic and I get my work out in before I have time to make excuses.
After, I arrive at the office ready to go. I check in with all of my direct reports for an informal touch base and clear emails. I then dive into the priority of the day. When I get home in the evening, before settling into home life, I review my calendar for the next day, get my clothes and gym gear ready, and have my mind working in the background on the following day.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I love being involved in all aspects of the business. I promise everyone who starts at Dotcom that they will never be bored — and we never are. I love that we have a diverse client base and are involved in many different business, including cosmetics, fashion, golf and electronics, to name a few. I love the culture we’ve created. We have an awesome team that works well together, plays well together and even disagrees well together.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
The challenges are never the same; it depends on where we are in our stage of growth. Right now, we’re working on automating certain parts of the facility, so I’ll go to sleep thinking about how certain parts will fit together, how we’ll monitor and measure productivity gains, etc. Other things that are in the pipeline are incentive-based pay systems for our hourly workers. I think about how we can make this a win-win for everyone.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Yes! I’m very fortunate to have so many things pulling on my time. I’m not sure if this is balance or out of balance for some, but for me, staying on top of what is going on at Dotcom via emails, text or web reporting tools enables me to be in tune with what is going on in the business even when family/friends/travel take me away from the business. I generally have blurred lines between business and personal, but that seems to work for me. When I’m stressed about too many things competing for my time, I make sure to remember that these are the things I am most grateful for, and that helps keep me in check.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
There have been several milestones throughout my career where I’ve thought, “Wow. I’ve done it.” These include getting my CPA, landing my first job at Arthur Andersen, founding Dotcom and landing our first major client at Dotcom. But in reality, these have all been stepping stones.
Everything in life is a process — including building a business — and as long as we’re always putting one foot in front of the other, we’re in the process of “making it.”
What are some of the rules you live by?
1 / Nothing is good or bad; it’s what you make it.
2 / Expect good things.
3 / Keep putting one foot in front of the other, because you never know what’s around the next corner.
4 / According to Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — either way you’ll be right.”
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
In any line of work, you have to love what you do to be successful. I’ve never met a successful person that didn’t love what they did. And once you’ve figured out what you love, then you need to put your all into it. In my particular line of work, it comes down to servicing the client and the end consumer. Everything we do is with that in mind.
If you could go back a redo anything in your life what would it be?
Nothing. All steps led me to where I am now and I am quite happy with my life, both professionally and personally. I have a company and team that I am proud of, a loving husband, two beautiful daughters and an amazing family. I've learned over the years that even the bumps help you get to where you want to be — you just need to be mindful of the lessons.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Don’t stress over the small stuff and truly appreciate every day. Keep a journal to remember the little things, because the big things take care of themselves.